Honoring teachers rewards excellence, instills confidence

Time and again, teachers will tell you they’re not in it for the money. When they see a “lightbulb” going on in one of their students, indicating an educational breakthrough, that can be payment enough for many teachers.

However, teaching also is a source of income for educator families, and financial rewards are nice – and appreciated, especially when they recognize exceptional efforts.

Such efforts of four local teachers were rewarded with grants recently.

Central Middle School science teacher Katherine Slabosky and Columbus East science teacher Derek Chastain each received $12,000 stipends from the Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship program. They were among 100 Indiana K-12 educators selected as winners from more than 500 applicants.

The program is intended to strengthen teachers personally and professionally. Both plan to use the money for projects — Slabosky for observing glaciers and geology in Iceland and Glacier National Park in Montana, and Chastian for building a large reflecting telescope that students can use to study astronomy.

Two local private school teachers received $4,000 awards for their outstanding work. Bobbie Owens, a part-time art teacher at ABC-Stewart, and E. Jean Jack, a second-grade teacher at White Creek Lutheran School, were recipients of the Reams Family Awards for Teaching Excellence, presented by the Heritage Fund — Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. The award is given annually to outstanding teachers in the private schools of Bartholomew County.

Owens was recognized for being inspiring and creative, and for using art exhibits to help students learn about cultures. Jack was honored for making learning creative and fun, and her organization and classroom structure.

Parents want what’s best for their children when it comes to education, and that includes having quality teachers in the schools. The awards presented to these educators provide a vote of confidence in that regard for parents — added assurance that good teachers locally are providing beneficial educational experiences for students.

That is a reward everyone can appreciate.